Chicago Bears: Eddie Goldman entering critical 2017 season

The 2017 season is time for Chicago Bears” defensive tackle Eddie Goldman to live up to his high potential.

Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman is entering his third season with the Chicago Bears, and it’s arguably his most critical. After being drafted 39th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, Goldman has experienced his fair shares of ups and downs during his first two seasons. In his rookie season, Goldman started 12 games, compiling 22 tackles and 4.5 sacks. In 2016, however, Goldman battled injuries most of the year and played in only six games.

A high ankle sprain suffered in Week 2 last season was a detriment to Goldman all season long. He constantly re-aggravated it and was on the injury report nearly every week. Goldman struggled to finish games, and he eventually was placed on injured reserve late December with the same ankle injury. Goldman finished the season with disappointing numbers of 18 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Being the second pick general manager Ryan Pace made in his Bears’ career, hopes are obviously high for Goldman to turn into something special. He has flashed potential numerous times, but consistency has been an issue. Injuries have been partly to blame for this, especially last season when Goldman could never really get into any kind of rhythm. Now healthy, Goldman needs to finally put it all together in 2017.

Goldman, who primarily plays nose tackle in Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defense, has been stout against the run and has flashed as a pass rusher. Still only 23 years old, Goldman has a very high ceiling that hopefully can be hit this upcoming season. The Bears did not address the defensive line position in April’s draft, and the only major free agent additions to the position were Jaye Howard (a defensive end) and John Jenkins (who was drafted by the New Orleans Saints when Pace was still with the organization).

The Bears’ front seven has a chance to be very good if everyone can stay healthy. Goldman has been seen as a building block for the defense, but it’s hard to know if that’s true since he’s already missed 11 games in his career. Goldman has been frustrating because he’s flashed at times, but then again at other times, you’ll hardly know he’s even on the field.

If anyone can get the most out of Goldman, it’s Vic Fangio. When with the 49ers, Fangio helped turn Justin Smith into a Pro Bowler and even made players like Ray McDonald and Isaac Sopoaga seem competent. There’s a lot of raw talent with Goldman for Fangio to work with, so hopefully with another whole offseason, Goldman can make significant strides.

Saying 2017 is a make-or-break season for Goldman isn’t quite true, as he’s just entering year three of a relatively cheap four-year rookie contract and will almost certainly be back for 2018. But this upcoming season definitely will be telling as to if Goldman can be a true building block for the team, or if he’s more likely to be added to the long list of draft busts the Bears have had in recent years.

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